Diego Guillen Hernandez, age 38, came to the United States from Venezuela nearly three years ago with his wife, Marilyn, and two daughters, Maria, and Camila. In Venezuela, Diego was a college-educated computer engineer focusing on IT, where he worked for a big Brazilian company. Later he created his own small business, which he ran. Unfortunately, things were not looking good for Diego and his family back in Venezuela, so they decided to move to the United States for more opportunities.

Soon after arriving in the United States, Diego started a job as a construction worker requiring very little English, as most of his coworkers were also Spanish speaking. But after a short time, Diego began looking for a more profitable job that fit his college degree education.

He quickly realized not speaking English left many doors closed to him. But then Diego learned about English classes offered in the evenings at Grace Place. He immediately signed up and fell in love with our adult education program. Thanks to his hard work in class, Diego began working at NCH Healthcare Systems in the IT department. He continues to attend Grace Place English classes after work and is currently studying for two CCNA certificates, which are entry-level networking certifications that prepare you for networking roles in IT, like network engineer.

Diego is only one of the many students at Grace Place who left professional careers in their home countries to come to the United States in search of a better future for themselves and their children. Even with their college degree, many struggle to find employment in their field of expertise. Unfortunately, a comparison of unemployment rates by college degrees earned in other countries found that immigrants who earned their degrees abroad faced higher unemployment rates than those with US college degrees (Neeta P. Fogg, Ph.D., 2012).

We are extremely proud of Diego, and all of our adult learners, encouraging them to not only attain their goals but also go for more!

“I am very thankful to my teacher, Ms. Pat, for helping me open many doors for my future. Grace Place is a place where help can be found for those who are willing to put in the effort to help themselves.” – Diego